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The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization$
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Pius ten Hacken and Claire Thomas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748689606

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748689606.001.0001

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Nominal compounds as naming devices

Nominal compounds as naming devices

a comparison of English and Polish land surveying terminology

(p.83) Chapter 5 Nominal compounds as naming devices
The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization

Piusten Hacken

Ewelina Kwiatek

Edinburgh University Press

In this study we compare the use of nominal compounds to name concepts in a specialized domain in English and in Polish. We argue that for a comparison of the type we make here, we need a cross-linguistically valid definition that includes certain genitive constructions and combinations of relational adjective (RA) and noun. We constructed termbases for three different subdomains of surveying, viz. cartography, geodetic surveying and GPS. We found that Polish has more compounds than English. Whereas in English N+N compounds account for more than half of the compounds, in Polish RA+N or N+RA compounds are almost two thirds of the compounds. When we consider the individual subdomains, the distribution of types is remarkably similar between English and Polish. This suggests that some concepts are more likely to be named by a compound. In Polish, the field of GPS has many borrowings, but this hardly affects the number of compounds (in comparison to English and to other fields). It is mainly the number of non-compounds without compound components that is affected by the occurrence of borrowing. Given that the coverage of the termbases in the two languages corresponds, these effects reflect genuine naming trends.

Keywords:   compounding, relational adjective, genitive, borrowing, terminology, naming, Polish, surveying

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